Chief Officer’s Blog 15 October


Winter Is Coming

Hello everyone, Sheena here with my weekly blog…

It’s Friday already at the end of another busy and rewarding week.

I’d like to begin with a personal message to each and every person reading this – you matter, and your health and wellbeing is our top priority.

I think I can reasonably assume that if you are reading this, then it is likely you are in some way connected to, and with, the care and consideration of our population and communities. In order to do that well, it is essential that we also take care of ourselves and our colleagues.

We are all working flat out, and have been for many months. This takes its toll and you need to know that sometimes, it is ok to not be ok. Please remember there is a raft of support available to you and I’ve included some links at the end of this message.

It may be that you don’t need formal support. Perhaps a little self-care would help – something as simple as exercise, healthy food, rest or a little time out to yourself. However, what is essential – and without doubt the most effective way to start to feel better – is to talk to someone. Please don’t suffer alone, and reach out to your colleagues to either ask for their ear, or to offer to listen.

And, to every single person reading this – thank you – you are doing a great job.

Winter, in NHS terms at least, is now officially upon us. Every part of the system, from voluntary and community support through primary care right up to the most acute and intensive care contributes to our winter plans to keep patients and communities safe.

Our colleagues in St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals are launching a ‘Perfect Week’ event next week where everyone will work together to ‘reset’ the local system, focussing on safe and timely discharge, maximising patient flow and creating capacity at the front door.

These events are highly effective at kick starting improvements and positively impacting on staff morale. Good luck to everyone involved and I look forward to hearing the results. You can find more information here:

Of course we all have a responsibility, as both part of the health and care workforce, and as citizens, to do our bit to contribute to preparations for winter. I urge you all to stock your medicine cabinets to allow immediate self-care when it’s necessary; to be careful when out in bad weather, driving or riding a bike (for example) to avoid accidents; and to ensure you are vaccinated against Covid and Flu. And, if you or any of your friends or family is pregnant, please ensure that they get a Covid vaccine.

It saddens me greatly that nationally, around 1 in 6 hospitalisations for Covid is an unvaccinated mother-to-be.

I am delighted to confirm that David Flory, our interim Chair, has agreed to extend his contract until 31st March next year. We did not appoint to the permanent role in the recent national recruitment process, and David’s continued tenure brings us consistency and stability at a crucial time in our development. David is highly experienced, effective and respected.

On Monday, myself, the executive team here and our CCG Accountable Officer colleagues had a most productive session where we considered the leadership roles required for the intended Integrated Care Board.

There are four prescribed executive positions – Chief Officer, Finance, Nursing and Medical – and designing these roles together with two additional very senior leadership posts that we believe are necessary, was both really interesting and exciting.

The roles, and the people who eventually fill them, will have huge potential to positively influence the work of the ICS , reduce health inequality and improve the lives of our poorest, fastest.

We will shortly be beginning an engagement exercise to share our thoughts and suggestions and our proposed constitution, and I really look forward to hearing your feedback.

We are on the cusp of a truly fantastic opportunity to get this right, and to really make a difference. Bring it on!

Until next time……..

Kind to Your Mind – here you’ll find a range of useful resources, tips, and advice to help with your mental wellbeing

Alma Wellbeing Portal – resources developed exclusively for people living and working in Cheshire and Merseyside

Cheshire and Merseyside Resilience Hub – information and support for all NHS, Social Care and Emergency Service staff

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